Researchers at CDIS have partnered for over 15 years with Juvenile Probation and Court Services Department
of Cook County, IL, the second largest juvenile probation system in the US. From 2004 to 2008, we developed and pilot tested PHAT Life, an innovative HIV/STI, substance use, and mental health intervention for juvenile offenders. Findings from the pilot study revealed reduced sexual risk taking and substance use at 3-month follow-up. More recently, we have rigorously evaluated PHAT Life in a carefully-conducted efficacy trial, with sustained positive outcomes at 12-month follow-up. In order to ensure that this line of research produces actual, real-world improvements in the lives of probation youth, we seek to identify in partnership with Juvenile Probation a PHAT Life implementation strategy that is effective, cost-effective, and sustainable within juvenile justice settings. CDIS is currently conducting a 2-arm randomized controlled trial comparing the impact of PHAT Life on 350 13-17 year-old offenders’ risky sex, STI, substance use, and theoretical mediators when delivered by Youth Representatives (YR) vs. probation staff (PS).